It may sound bizarre, but going no contact with a narcissist can trigger grief. Often very intense grief. Chances are there were some good times together, some laughs shared, & some other enjoyable experiences. Narcissists aren’t abusive all of the time, & during their times of not being abusive, can be really pleasant to be around. (If that wasn’t the case, if they were abusive constantly, people would catch on to what they were much faster!)
Another thing to consider is that the narcissist is still alive when you go no contact. As incredibly painful as it is to accept the death of someone you love, at least it’s natural because death is a part of life. Grieving a still living person is unnatural & that alone makes that grief more complicated.
There also is the fact that just because someone is a narcissist doesn’t mean you don’t love that person. Maybe the narcissist in your life swept you off your feet & wooed you as no one else ever has. This made you fall deeply in love with this person & in spite of all the abuse, you still love that side of the narcissist. Or maybe the narcissist in your life is a parent. Children naturally love their parents, so in spite of it all, you can’t help but to love your narcissistic parent.
Ending a relationship with someone definitely triggers grief, even when that someone was horribly abusive. It is an unavoidable fact of life. However, many people upon ending their relationship with a narcissist are surprised & even embarrassed or ashamed of how they feel. They didn’t expect to feel anything but relief at this time. This conversation is for those of you who have experienced that.
The wisest thing you can do is to maintain a close relationship to God during this difficult time. He cares so much about you & wants to comfort you! Let Him!
Never judge your feelings. Just accept them as they are, without judgment. Judging them only leads to trying to stifle them, & stifled feelings are incredibly unhealthy. Feelings demand to be acknowledged, so if they aren’t acknowledged in a healthy way, they will manifest in unhealthy ways such as dysfunctional behaviors or health problems.
Also talk about your feelings either with a safe, non-judgmental person or by writing them in a journal or both. Another person’s compassion & feedback can be extremely helpful. It can bring you validation & comfort. And, writing can help bring clarity that speaking doesn’t. Writing about things can help you to learn & understand your situation. Both can be valuable tools in healing.
You also need to know that in this time of grief, many people won’t understand how you feel. It seems like the majority of people think when you end a relationship, you don’t have any feelings for the other person anymore so ending it was no big deal to you. Even others who have severed ties with narcissists can fail to understand. Maybe they truly hated the narcissist in their lives, & assume everyone feels the same way. Learning you don’t makes them think something is wrong with you rather than accepting you simply are different. There also will be those who understand you are grieving but don’t see why it’s going on for so long. They may think you are “over it” & treat you accordingly when you aren’t doing well at all just yet. In any case, when people don’t understand how you feel, they may say & do foolish & hurtful things. Whether their intentions are malicious or not, it may be wise for you to keep a bit of a distance from them for a while.
Just remember, if you feel grief after going no contact with the narcissist in your life, there is nothing wrong with you. Take care of yourself. Process your emotions. Be understanding & patient with yourself. Grief is a process & although it’s an incredibly painful one, you will get through it.